How to Paint a Stair Hall

Updated November 21, 2016

Whether you are painting an accent wall or all the walls and moulding surrounding the stairs, painting a stairway hall is a smart way to add interest and drama to this architectural feature. But because of the height and uneven steps of a stairway, it can become somewhat challenging to paint this space. With the right equipment and caution, you can paint a staircase to better coordinate with your home's design motif.

Protect your steps and banister. Painting the hall can be messy work. Tape off the areas you do not want to paint to create a clean edge for the paint treatment. Cover the stairs and banister with a plastic dropcloth and tape in place.

Prepare the surface by cleaning thoroughly. Aim lighting at the surface closest to the ceiling to be sure you are removing all dirt, stains or cobwebs. If your hall features wallpaper, this will need to be removed before painting. Apply a layer of primer to the hall surface to insure the paint adheres properly.

Position a ladder and leveller where needed to access high walls. The leveller will support the back foot of the ladder because of the height variation in the steps of your stairs.

Apply the paint in an up and down motion with your roller. Smooth out any excess paint. Once the paint has dried, add a second layer if desired.

Use a roller with an extension handle to paint hard-to-reach areas. To attach the handle to the roller, screw the extension into the handle of the roller. For extra stability, wrap the handle with masking tape.

Add interest by painting an accent colour. Instead of painting the entire stairway hall one colour, you can add a burst of drama to the space with a warm accent colour on the feature wall. This will elongate and add presence to the stairway.


Have an assistant in the painting process. Even with the leveller, a second person should help steady the ladder.

Things You'll Need

  • Painter's tape
  • Dropcloth
  • Light source
  • Primer
  • Ladder
  • Leveller
  • Roller
  • Extension handle
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About the Author

Liza Hollis has been writing for print and online publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on various digital properties, including Hollis earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Florida.